Is there a new Fab Four on Merseyside?
Goodison Park: Jonathan Kahn, CC BY-SA 4.0
After scoring one goal in the opening three games of the new Premier League season, Everton boss Marco Silva unleashed his brand new front four from the off when Wolves came to town. The result was instantaneous. The Portuguese’s favourite project, Richarlison announced his return to form with a brace. Gylfi Sigurdsson claimed an assist. The two new members of the quartet got in on the act. Moise Kean created a goal. Alex Iwobi scored one. Over the international break, Toffees fans were left biting their nails. Did the cascade of goals usher in a new era in the blue section of Merseyside or was it a false dawn?
Following the 2018/19 campaign, Silva needed a striker and a right-winger. He landed a striker but settled for a left-winger with Richarlison maintaining his position on the right.
It was a situation that was always going to take time. Dominic Calvert-Lewin worked extremely hard for his team but is yet to develop the consistent quality needed in the final third. While talented, Bernard also lacked a cutting edge.
It’s possible that Wolves’ Europa exertions were a contributing factor in the score but Silva has overseen great work at Everton up till now. This looks like being the next phase.
In signing Moise Kean and Alex Iwobi, many questioned Silva’s wisdom. Neither was able to fully establish himself at Juventus or Arsenal.
In Kean's case, that comes off as somewhat harsh. At 19, he is still learning his craft. First-team football can only help but obstacles at striker don't get much bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo and racial abuse from Italian fans. Kean’s desire to move on in search of a regular place and a bit of respect, coupled with the Old Lady’s reluctance to sell to a team from Serie A, made Everton an obvious choice.
The Italian offers a new dimension to Everton. Able to hold the ball as well as finish chances, Kean can also work the channels, allowing Richarlison and Iwobi space to drift inside and create havoc in the box. Cenk Tosun proved unable to do so. Calvert-Lewin just wasn’t all that effective. After putting Finland away with the game's second goal in his first start for Italy in March, Toffees faithful should be optimistic.
Iwobi presents a slightly different picture. Around the Arsenal first team for a number of seasons, he never managed to make the step up to a regular starter. With Pierre-Emerick Aubaymeng starting on the left-wing more often, Nicholas Pepe installed on the right and Reiss Nelson added to the mix, opportunities would be infrequent. A fresh start made sense. Moving outside the big six was the ideal chance, a goal on his full home debut the perfect start. It went some way towards showing the Nigerian's potential.
While still very much early days for this new combination, the signs are promising. Everton have a favourable run of games following the international break. If Silva keeps them together, they should gel into a vibrant unit. Given his previous track record, you wouldn’t bet against Silva working some magic. With all but Manchester City and Liverpool from the Big Six looking vulnerable, this is Silva’s chance to take Everton to the next level. If he can do it, perhaps Everton can become Day Trippers to Europe.